Ear care is a very important part of your dog’s health. Your dog’s ears must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent injury resulting from infection. If an infection is left untreated, it can escalate in severity, causing a great deal of pain for your dog, and eventually causing deafness. A healthy dog’s ears are pale pink and have no odor. It is normal for a dog to have a little bit of wax or dirt in the outer portion of the ear canal and ear leather, however if the canal is inflamed, red, has an accumulation of brown waxy debris, or smells bad, there is probably an infection and you should take your dog to a vet.
Dogs with hairy ear canals should have excess ear hair removed either by you, a groomer, or a vet prior to cleaning. Keeping your dog’s ears clean and dry is the best way to avoid infection. Before you begin, gather your supplies and apply the ear cleaning solution to cotton balls or swabs. This will make the process much simpler. Hold your dog’s ear up in a way that allows you easy access. Inspect the ears for infection before cleaning. Use cotton balls to clean the inside of the ear flap and the outer ear, getting all of the debris out of the grooves and creases. Wipe around the inside of the ear, not going any further than the inner canal. If you find that your dog’s ears are still excessively dirty, apply some of the ear cleaning solution inside of the ear canal. This will provide deeper cleaning. Massage the base of the dog’s ear between your thumb and index finger until you can hear it making a squishing sound and then let your dog shake his head to release the wax and dirt. Clean any left over discharge with cotton balls.
Most dogs need their ears cleaned once a week. Some breeds have waxier ears and may need cleaning twice a week. Routine cleanings will keep your dog healthy and happy. Reward your dog and praise him, making ear cleaning a positive experience for both of you.
Stinky dog breath isn’t just a nuisance- it’s a sign that something is wrong. Dental disease is the most common disease in canines. Dogs don’t get cavities but they do get plaque, tartar, and gingivitis which all cause foul breath and tooth problems. Poor dental care for your dog can lead to dental infections that travel to your pup’s heart, causing major problems or even death. One quick, simple way to try to avoid this is by brushing your dog’s teeth.
Before you start brushing your dog’s teeth, you should have a vet examine the dog for loose teeth, abscesses, etc. If your dog has gum disease or damaged teeth brushing will be very painful and your dog may associate this pain with teeth brushing. You could even be bitten. Before you start brushing, you’ll want to buy a few things from a pet store or a vet. You’ll need a toothbrush made for dog’s teeth. You can use a regular one with soft bristles, but the brushes made for dogs are much longer and you will be able to reach the back teeth much easier. There are also tooth brushes that fit over your finger and dental wipes for dogs who will not allow a traditional brush. You’ll want to buy a tooth paste made especially for dogs. Do not use human toothpaste. The fluoride compound in human paste can harm your dog and make him ill. There are multiple flavors available like mint, poultry, and beef. Try to find one your dog likes. Also, keep some treats handy so you can reward your dog for good behavior. This will also present teeth brushing as a positive experience.
You should get your dog used to looking in his mouth before you start brushing his teeth. Give him lots of praise and reward him with a dog treat every time he lets you look into his mouth. When you are ready to begin brushing, put your dog on a comfortable surface. Put some toothpaste on your dog’s toothbrush. Gently hold his muzzle and lift his lip on one side. Gently brush in a circular, all the way to the gum line. Make sure you get the back teeth! You can always add more toothpaste if you need to. When you are finished, clean the tooth brush and store it somewhere sanitary. Lavish your dog with praise and give him treats. He’ll probably want to get a drink to rinse out his mouth.
Try to make teeth brushing a daily habit. If you can’t brush everyday, try every other day. You may have a hard time at first, but the more you brush the easier it will be. With a little time and patience, you will find that though your dog doesn’t like having his teeth brushed, he will at least cooperate. His clean teeth and fresh breath are worth the effort!!!
Most dogs panic when they hear the word bath and this makes the task of bathing quite uncomfortable. Taking your dog to the groomer to be bathed can be costly, but many people are willing to pay the high grooming fees to avoid getting drenched every time they try to bathe their dogs. Giving your dog a bath doesn’t have to be such a nerve-wracking experience. If you just make your dog feel safe and secure, you will find that you will have a much easier time.
Before you begin, gather all your supplies and take them into your bathroom. You will need shampoo, conditioner (optional), dog brush, towels, cotton balls, and treats. Place a rubber bath mat in the bottom of your bath tub to help your pet feel secure. Brush your dog’s coat our before bathing to remove tangles, mats, and loose hair. You can use a removable hair strainer to prevent your drain from clogging. If you own a detachable showerhead, you may want to use that instead as most dogs are afraid of water running from faucets. This is also easier and helps save water. Put moist cotton balls in your dog’s ears to prevent water from running in. You can get eye drops that keep soap out of your dog’s eyes.
Try leaving the water running ahead of time to get your dog used to the sound before you actually put him in the tub and fill with about 6 inches of water. Wet your pet thoroughly and lather with shampoo from head to tail. Use a shampoo made especially for dogs. Never use human shampoo; it is too harsh for dog’s sensitive skin. Be sure to stay away from their eyes. If you massage and rub your dog while lathering him up, it will relax him and make bath time more enjoyable.
Rinse your dog thoroughly. Make sure to remove all traces of shampoo and get all of the hard to rinse places like his belly, behind his ears, and under his tail. Leftover shampoo residue causes itching and scratching. Rinse with one hand and rub your pet with the other, draining the bath tub while you rinse. If you are using conditioner, apply and leave on your dog for about two minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
While still in the tub, dry your dog with towels in smooth strokes to remove all of the water trapped under fur. Do not rub- this will only tangle the hair. You can use a hair dryer on a low setting to dry hair more quickly. Watch your dog when he is done; most dogs want to run and rub to get themselves dry after a bath and he could get dirty all over again. When your dog is completely dry, brush his coat out again.
Treats and praise a big key to success when dealing with dogs. Make sure to praise your dog throughout the whole process and give your dog treats when you are through. This will present baths as a positive experience. Never yell at your dog or be rough with him while bathing. This will only scare him and make him more resistant to the process.
Many people are too intimidated to cut their dog’s nails. They are afraid that they will hurt their dog or cut the nails too short. Nail trimming doesn’t have to be scary. It’s actually a simple procedure that leaves your dog looking and feeling great.
There are a few things you will need to give a great pedicure. Dog nail clippers are a given, but you may want to gather a few other supplies. A non-slip mat can help avoid injury. Scissors and hair clippers can be used to trim excess hair around toes and in between pads. You may want a grinder to file nails smooth. Styptic pens or powder are good to have in the event that a nail is cut too short, though regular household items like flour, cornstarch, and baby powder work too. If you want, you can get nail polish to paint your dog’s nails. Lastly, you’ll want treats to give your dog to reinforce that nail trimming is a positive thing.
Place your dog on a raised surface, using a non-slip mat if you have one. If your dog is squirmy, you should have some one help you hold the dog. Trim excess hair around feet if necessary. Lift your dog’s foot and slide the trimmer over nail. Stay within the white part of the nail and squeeze the trimmer firmly. The nail should just pop off. Repeat for each nail, on each foot. Don’t forget the dew claws!
If your dog has dark nails, it will be a little harder to see how far to cut, but you can tell by feeling them. Run your fingernail on the underside of the nail. You should feel a bump. You should cut every thing after this bump. If you do cut a nail too short, and the nail is bleeding, apply pressure using a styptic powder for a full minute and the bleeding will stop. If you don’t have a styptic solution, use one of the other household products listed above. Do not wipe the blood clot off after the bleeding stops.
Filing your dog’s nails is optional. You can always just walk them on concrete for the same effect. If you choose to file, let the grinder run for a bit to familiarize your dog with the sight and sound of it. Hold your dog’s paw firmly in the “handshake” gesture and rock the grinder back and forth for a few seconds on each nail. Do not file for long, as the nails are already short from trimming. Continue on each nail, on each foot. If your dog does not like grinders, you can always take them for a walk on concrete to file the nails smooth.
If you want to polish your dog’s nails, never use human products. The chemicals used in these products are not safe for dogs. Check nails for good health. If nails are brittle or cracked, don’t polish them. It will make the condition worse. Sit with your dog on your lap and paint each nail. Massaging or petting your puppy when you are through will get them to hold still long enough for the polish to dry. When the dog nail polish starts to chip, simply use a pet safe remover to get it off.
Always give your dog plenty of dog treats and praise when you are cutting their nails. It makes them happy and calms them and turns nail trimming into a positive experience for both of you.